Archive for October, 2008

  • USA calls out for Aussie binders

    Australian binders are again being invited to compete against their American counterparts in the Binding Industries Association (BIA) 2009 Product of Excellence Awards.

    The invitation follows the success of Western Australian company, Prism Grafix, who entered the 2008 competition and won the Product of Excellence award in self promotion along with an Award of Recognition for foiling and embossing.

    Printing Industries national communications and technical services manager, Joe Kowalewski, said this success had prompted considerable interest in the Australian industry.

    "Our American colleagues have also sweetened the deal to expand interest within our industry and will provide our finalists with complimentary registration to their major binding and finishing conference in Las Vegas from 4-6 May 2009," he said.

    "This is in addition to extending the BIA discounted member entry fee of US$65 to Printing Industries’ members wanting to enter the competition (US$95 non members).

    "Only pieces produced between May 2008 and Feb 2009 are eligible for entry. Entries must be received in the US by 27 March 2009."

    The competition is divided into two sections – Graphic Finishing (11 categories including a category for ‘miracle work’ – They said it couldn’t be done; and Loose Leaf (17 Categories).

    The awards are broken down into:

    Product of Excellence
    The most outstanding of all entries in a category.  To win, an entry must be technically flawless. This is the pinnacle of success in the binding industry.

    Award of Recognition
    Finalists for the top honours in each category receive the Award of Recognition.

    Certificate of Merit
    Many of the entries in the Product of Excellence competition deserve recognition for their quality craftsmanship. To honour these entries, judges bestow a Certificate of Merit.

    "This is a great opportunity for Aussie companies to show their abilities in the international arena and enhance their profiles by competing and hopefully winning against American and other overseas companies," Kowalewski said.

    "Our awards will be completed for 2008 soon with the ACT PAGE Awards on 7 November followed by the Queensland PICAs on 28 November. From there our State best of the best will go on to compete in the National Print Awards on 29 May in Melbourne."

    Full details including category and registration information and the discount entry form is available via this link.

  • GBC Australia scores local MGI distribution rights

    MGI chooses GBC as its authorised distributor for Australia and New Zealand.

    The US-based company was keen to expand its presence throughout the two countries. Raj Dang, general manager of GBC Australia said that MGI chose the company because they each work across similar areas.

    "Over the years our business has evolved and been at the forefront of digital print finishing; so when MGI said they were interested we thought they were an innovative company who fitted well with our business," he said.

    With full showrooms to be located in Sydney and Melbourne, GBC Australia will provide sales and technical support for MGI’s full line of digital solutions, including the Meteor DP60 Pro; UVarnish; PressCard Pro; PunchCard Pro and the PowerLam.

    MGI had tried other companies in Australia but settled on GBC for its range and scope, Dang said.

    "They wanted a company that could offer them national coverage," he said, pointing to GBC’s 45 service technicians and 80 sales representatives.

    "MGI supply a lot of niche products for specialist needs and we like to focus on niche areas. It was a good fit for us."

  • Think DES, think ISO

    ‘Almost right’ is just not an option, says DES which is keen to continue educating the industry on the benefits involved in printing to the ISO standard.

    DES began championing the ISO 12647 press standard five years ago and has since implemented ISO at most of Australia’s leading print groups and print buyers based on their popular and user friendly PrintSpec software.

    Some printers still seem mystified at exactly what they need to do to meet the ISO print standard 12647. Sales director of DES, Russell Cavenagh, (pictured) understands this all too well and has the following advice:

    "We can see that customers have concerns adopting the ISO standard but we have gained considerable experience over the last five years and we can guide printers through the procedure in a simple and cost effective way," he said.

    Australia’s leading media group, GEON, has installed PrintSpec ISO 12647-2 software across their major sites. Implemented by DES, GEON can now maximize their workflow capabilities with quicker turnaround times, improved communication and achieve easier matching of proofs on press.

    Shane Smithe, GEON Group Process and Operations Improvement Manager, recommends the process.

    "The benefits of the ISO 12647-2 and ISO 12647-7  implementation are immense, ranging from time saved in attaining colour, faster client approvals, less paper waste and ultimately, satisfied clients," he said.

    "Due to the thorough preparation of the team at GEON, with guidance from DES, the Certification was achieved in the expected timeframe."

    GEON has achieved a rare Mellow Colour ‘100 club’ status during the PrintSpec ISO implementations in Sydney and Melbourne; this means that GEON is capable of producing work 100 per cent in compliance with the tight targets and tolerances of the Mellow Colour Quality management system.

    The creators of the PrintSpec software, Mellow Colour, have also established the Proficient Printer Program, recognizing printers around the world that have received training in the practical implementation of ISO 12647 and operation of the PrintSpec Colour QA System. Print Buyers use the Proficient Printer Program to recognise and monitor a print supplier’s performance to ISO 12647.

    DES has introduced most of Australia’s leading print groups and print buyers to their popular PrintSpec software over the last five years. Unique in its style of operation, PrintSpec can not only match a press to an ISO standard, but can also be customized to a company’s in-house standard.

    For further information contact David Crowther. Phone: 02 9736 6720
    or email: 

  • Rohan Holt wins seat on CIP4 board

    The Australian inventor of Metrix is elected to the keenly contested member position at the highest level of the international process integration organization.

    Winning the prestigious post is regarded as a tribute to the contribution and knowledge of the wunderkind of Australian graphic arts system development. As founder of LithoTechnics, Holt (pictured) is the original inventor of SuperImpose, the product that was adapted and renamed UpFront when it was acquired by ScenicSoft in 1999. Through acquisition, Kodak now owns UpFront.

    Since then he has backed up with Metrix, the LithoTechnics’ flagship product. Designed and developed by Holt to automate job planning and imposition, Metrix integrates the front-end business systems with the back-end prepress and postpress production apparatus using JDF. An automatic layout calculator for commercial printers, it is used by estimators, production planners, and prepress operators to instantly calculate optimum layouts, even for complex ganging.

    Holt is recognised as one of the industry’s most dedicated developers. He gained his initial insights into the production process with a long stint as a print production manager He describes his company’s mission as “providing key tools and technologies to enable print workflow automation.”

    Holt is the second Australian to hold a sought after top-level position at CIP4. He joins Mark Wilton from Kodak, a Sydney expatriate living in Vancouver, who is in charge of education and marketing at the international organisation.

    CIP4 is the International Cooperation for the Integration of the Processes in Prepress, Press and Postpress (CIP4) Organization. Based in Geneva it is the driving force behind automating the printing process from prepress to finishing.

    It is supported by all the leading graphic equipment manufacturers such as Heidelberg, manroland, Xerox, Agfa and Kodak, and is committed to defining future versions of JDF and developing a software development kit for comprehensive XML-based file formats to facilitate end-to-end job ticket specifications.

  • Press Release Almanac: 29 October 2008

    Keep up to date with the latest industry releases. This week, Fuji Xerox goes green while HP unleashes new large-format printers.

    Fuji Xerox Introduces Australia’s Award-Winning Line of Environmentally-Friendly Colour Multifunction Devices
    HP Unveils Innovative Large-format Printing Solutions

    Fuji Xerox Australia this week introduced its new line of colour multifunction devices (MFDs) designed for the environment and better business workflow and security, including the ApeosPort-III C3300/C2200/C2201 and DocuCentre-III C3300/C2200/C2201.

    The new MFDs provide a powerful office platform for integrated colour printing, copying, scanning and optional faxing, and are the first in Australia to feature various environmentally-friendly technologies, such as lead-free shafts, biomass plastic, and a new, improved LED print head.

    The product line has already been presented with the prestigious Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry Prize in the Eco Products Category at the 4th Eco-Products Awards in Japan last year. The range is also the first in its product category to achieve Good Environmental Choice Australia (GECA) Certification.

    The GECA label is the only environmental labeling program in Australia which indicates the environmental performance of a product from a ‘whole of product life’ perspective for consumer goods.

    "It’s wonderful to see Fuji Xerox multifunction devices lead Australia in providing independent environmental assurance to its customer for this new range of products," said Petar Johnson, founder and director of Environmental Choice Australia.

    "These models give corporate and government buyers an assurance of world class environmental performance. We believe they will be the preferred devices for an increasing number of government organisations seeking to balance high-demand business requirements with environmental needs."

    Ritesh Pathak, product marketing manager for Fuji Xerox Australia, said the new line of colour MFDs is also the perfect solution for buyers seeking advanced office integration with the benefits of streamlined workflow.

    "The capabilities of these devices extend beyond those of traditional multifunction solutions. Built on Fuji Xerox’s successful Apeos Internet Integration based on XML and SOAP, Apeos iiX turns your MFD into a document portal and can be easily tailored to meet your specific business objectives."

    "That means by connecting several business critical applications with these devices, you can increase staff productivity, improve business efficiency and care for the environment."

    Environmental Features
    The new range incorporates several new technologies designed for the environment.

    Fuji Xerox is the first in the industry to go beyond compliance in the removal of hazardous substances by incorporating lead-free shafts. The MFD also includes a newly developed biomass plastic that has more than 30 percent plant-derived constituent (by weight) for the manufacture of specific moving parts in the machine, which results in reduced energy use and carbon emissions during manufacture.

    In addition, energy consumption has been reduced to 2.2W in sleep mode, which is significantly lower than conventional colour multifunction devices. In fact, the energy efficient enhancements make the power consumption similar to that of monochrome MFDs. The line also complies with Energy Star requirements.

    Superb Image Quality
    The ApeosPort-III C3300/C2200/C2201 and DocuCentre-III C3300/C2200/C2201 range offers superb digital image quality, with a newly developed, compact print head that uses LED to write images on the print drum, delivering image quality of 1200 x 2400 dpi equivalent to laser systems.

    Distinctive Design
    The MFDs also include an easy-to-use design for greater office productivity during day-to-day operations, with user-friendly drawers and paper output trays, a quick warm up time of 35 seconds, and printing and copying speeds of up to 35 ppm in colour and black and white.

    Streamlined Integration
    For easy connectivity and improved productivity in complex global and local business environments, the ApeosPort-III C3300/C2200/C2201 integrates electronic and paper documents for organisations that have intense legal, operational and environmental requirements. Specific Fuji Xerox document management processes and tools enable businesses to easily customise and automate a broad range of important workflow tasks.

    Enhanced Security
    To ensure greater flexibility and choice to support various business functions, these devices conform to the latest industry standards for network security including IPsec, SNMPv3 and IEEE802.1x. The new range also supports IPv6 (Internet Protocol Version 6), the next generation Internet.

    Extended Capabilities
    Apeos Integration based on XML and SOAP extends the ApeosPort capabilities beyond those of a conventional MFD. Apeos iiX allows users to connect to various web applications and boasts a suite of software development kits for the seamless, customised integration of all business applications with ApeosPort devices, making it an intelligent portal for greater business efficiency.


    HP unveiled the latest additions to its portfolio of large-format digital printing solutions at the SGIA ’08 in the US last week, bolstering the company’s efforts to target the estimated $53 billion page-value opportunity for the global sign and display market projected for 2010.

    These additions strengthen HP’s position as the leading provider of large-format technologies and solutions, and include:

    * The HP Scitex FB7500 Printer, which delivers industry-leading productivity along with high print speeds and standard three-quarter automation.
    * The HP Scitex FB950 Printer, which provides consistent high-quality point-of purchase/point-of-sale (POP/POS), tradeshow and event signage on virtually any rigid(2) or flexible media.(3) 
    * The HP Scitex TJ8550 Printer, which delivers higher print speeds and quality at lower costs than its predecessor. 

    "The release of these new printers further enhances our range of end-to-end solutions and provides our customers with even greater opportunities to maximise growth potential in digital print across a wide range of applications," said Shane Lucas, Director HP Graphic Arts South Pacific.

    "We anticipate there will be considerable excitement in the signage print sector with the release of the HP Scitex FB7500 printer which demonstrates our commitment to provide the market with a true digital alternative to analogue flatbed screenprinting.  It is also the first printer in the HP Scitex range to feature the new HP Scitex X2 Printhead technology that was unveiled at drupa this year."

    "The release of the HP Scitex FB950 with its advanced features such as the spectrophotometer and onboard camera delivers an even greater opportunity to produce high quality, visually engaging signage.  This printer will allow PSPs to offer their customers an expanded range of products and to broaden their market reach," Lucas concluded.

    Convert high-quality production volume to digital
    With speeds of up to 500 m2/hr (5,380 ft2/hr) and three-quarter automated loading to reduce idle time between sheets by up to 85 percent, the HP Scitex FB7500 Printer delivers the highest productivity of digital flatbed printers in its price class.

    An ideal solution for close-view POP/POS applications, exhibition graphics, signage, backlit displays and posters, the HP Scitex FB7500 Printer is built on the proven HP Scitex TJ Series printing platform, and offers the added benefit of HP Scitex X2 Printhead technology, which combines silicon-based microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) technology and innovative piezoelectric inkjet technology.

    Supporting a native resolution of up to 500 dpi in the HP Scitex FB7500 Printer, the printheads delivers the heavy ink flows required for high-speed, high-quality printing.
    The HP Scitex FB7500 Printer will be available for purchase worldwide in May 2009.
    High-quality prints and high productivity

    The HP Scitex FB950 Printer is a robust flatbed UV printer that delivers high-quality prints and high productivity on virtually any rigid(2) or flexible media  for the production of durable outdoor and indoor applications, including POP/POS signage, tradeshow graphics, interior decorations, banners and street furniture. Designed to increase productivity and profitability with efficient media loading and the ability to print multiple sheets at the same time, the HP Scitex FB950 Printer enables PSPs to accommodate a greater range of customer requests and grow their businesses.

    The printer’s six HP Scitex FB250 colour inks and printheads with variable-sized drops combine to produce great image detail – up to 1,200 x 600 optimized dpi – and smooth colour transitions across a wide variety of media. Advanced features, such as an onboard camera, spectrophotometer, embedded software and a solid media feed system, ensure consistent results and worry-free operation.

    The HP Scitex FB950 Printer will be available for worldwide general purchase on November 15, 2008. 

    Increase speed and lower costs
    The HP Scitex TJ8550 Printer features up to a 50 percent increase in print speed and up to 20 percent lower cost per print compared to the preceding HP Scitex TJ8500 Printer. With the new HP Scitex TJ8550 Printer, PSPs can confidently respond to a wide range of customer requests for the high-speed production of indoor and outdoor applications, including sheet-to-sheet or double-sided applications with the built-in HP Scitex Double-sided printing upgrade.

    Additionally, HP is offering field upgradability for existing HP Scitex TJ8500 Printer owners. The upgrade kit includes hardware, software, on-site installation and training.
    To complement the new HP Scitex TJ8550 Printer, HP also introduced HP Scitex TJ200 Ink, a UV-curable ink that delivers improved quality and reliability while lowering operational costs.

    The HP Scitex TJ8550 Printer and upgrade kit will be available in February 2009.

  • Australian Tenders of the Week, 28 October 2008

    ATM ID      RFQ PBIQ 0040 2009
    Agency: Department of Defence – DSG
    Category: 82121507 – Stationery or business form printing
    Close Date & Time: 5-Nov-2008 12:00 pm (ACT Local time)
    Publish Date: 9-Oct-2008
    Location: NSW

    Qty 4000 PD, 7530-66-156-8185. Form, AD690, Aircraft Life Support Equipment.

    Contact Officer: Gina Gauci
    Phone Number: 03 9282-5484
    Email Address:

    ATM ID      RFQ PBIQ 0017 2009
    Agency: Department of Defence – DSG
    Category:  82121507 – Stationery or business form printing
    Close Date & Time: 6-Nov-2008 12:00 pm (ACT Local time)
    Publish Date: 9-Oct-2008
    Location: VIC

    Qty 40000 Pads: NSN: 7510-66-136-3361 Form, Medication Record PM221, Pad of 100 Bond Forms

    Contact Officer: Jean Caliste
    Phone Number: 03 9282 3902
    Email Address:

    ATM ID      DFAT08-APO-034
    Agency: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
    Category: 43000000 – Information Technology Broadcasting and Telecommunications
    Close Date & Time: 10-Nov-2008 2:00 pm (ACT Local time)
    Publish Date: 16-Oct-2008
    Location: ACT, Canberra

    DFAT requires the Services of a suitably qualified and professional Contractor to provide Hardware and Related Services for the Personalisation of Australian Travel Documents (“Passports”).The Australian Passport Office (APO) is responsible for the provision of Passports to eligible Australian citizens.

    Personalisation involves completing the Passport booklet with the personal details of the applicant including printing these details on the paper data page, heat seal roll laminating the data page and writing the same information to an electronic chip embedded in the Passport.

    Hardware (and the necessary Software) is required that can perform the Passport printing function and ideally integrate one or both of the laminating and chip writing functions along with any maintenance and support services that may be required.

    The APO plans to make a major investment in its overall Passport systems and infrastructure over the next three to five years.  The requirement described in this RFT to replace Personalisation Hardware is seen as an interim solution to bridge the retirement of the current equipment and the planned major upgrade.

    Execution of contract and commencement of services is planned for mid march 2009.
    Other Instructions    

    There will be an optional industry briefing session on Tuesday 28 October, 2008 at Canberra Production Centre (Canberra Passport office), R.G. Casey Building, John McEwan Crescent, Barton ACT.  Please register for attendance at the briefing by e-mail:, by 1200pm AEDST Friday 24 October 2008.
     The supporting tender documents can be accessed from the DFAT website –
    Conditions for Participation     Tenderers must demonstrate compliance with the following Condition of Participation:

    DFAT will exclude a tender from further consideration if it considers that the Tenderer or any of its subcontractors (if applicable) are named as not complying with the following Conditions of Participation:

    (a) Tenderer (or any of its proposed subcontractors) must not be named as not complying with the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Act 1999 (see RFT clause 5.4);

    (b) Tenderer (or any of its proposed subcontractors) must not be named on the list of persons and entities designated as terrorist under the Charter of United Nations (Dealing with Assets) Regulations 2008;

    (c) Tenderer must not be bankrupt or insolvent; and
    (d)  Tenderer must have relevant prior experience in the provision or supply of the type of Goods and Services as required by this RFT.

    Timeframe for Delivery
    Execution of contract and commencement of services is planned for mid march 2009
    Address for Lodgement    

    Contact Person: Mark Porter
    Phone Number: +61 (02)6261 3844
    Fax Number: +61 (02) 6261 1038
    Email Address:

    Document(s) Contact Name: Mark Porter
    Document(s) Contact Phone:  +61 (02)6261 3844
    Document(s) Contact Email:
    Web Address: Http://

    ATM ID      RFQ PBHQ 0084 2009
    Agency: Department of Defence – DSG
    Category: 82121507 – Stationery or business form printing
    Close Date & Time: 13-Nov-2008 12:00 pm (ACT Local time)
    Publish Date: 20-Oct-2008
    Location: VIC

    Item 1:Form, Printed – GM120-2
    Item 2:Form, Printed – GM120-3
    Item 3:Form, Printed – GM120
    Item 4:Form, Printed – GM120-6-2.

    Contact Officer: Jean Caliste
    Phone Number: 03 9282 3902
    Email Address:

    ATM ID      RFQ PBIQ 0002 2009
    Agency: Department of Defence – DSG
    Category: 82121507 – Stationery or business form printing
    Close Date & Time: 13-Nov-2008 12:00 pm (ACT Local time)
    Publish Date: 20-Oct-2008
    Location: VIC

    Qty 1000 Ea: NSN: 7530-66-135-2451 Form, Printed – AB962,Certificate of Aircraft

    Contact Officer: Gina Gauci
    Phone Number: 03 9282 5484
    Email Address:

    ATM ID      RFQ PBIQ 0030 2009
    Agency: Department of Defence – DSG
    Category: 82121507 – Stationery or business form printing
    Close Date & Time: 13-Nov-2008 12:00 pm (ACT Local time)
    Publish Date: 20-Oct-2008
    Location: VIC

    Qty 100 Pads NSN: 7510-66-100-8525 Form, Printed – SQ86. Internal Requisition and Issue

    Contact Officer: Gina Gauci
    Phone Number: 03 9282 5484
    Email Address:

    ATM ID      ISP2008/13076
    Agency: Australian Securities and Investments Commission
    Category: 43211507 – Desktop computers
    Close Date & Time: 17-Nov-2008 4:00 pm (ACT Local time)
    Publish Date: 17-Oct-2008
    Location: ACT, NSW, VIC, SA, WA, QLD, NT, TAS


    • This RFT covers the following services:
    • supply and installation of desktop hardware;
    • supply of notebook hardware;
    • supply of desktop and notebook software;
    • training;
    • maintenance services in relation to the hardware; and
    • value add services (optional).

    The following are outside the scope of this RFT:

    • new SOE build, application development and testing;
    • the supply, installation and deployment of desktop virtualisation software;
    • Lotus Domino and Notes refresh;
    • server and SAN refresh;
    • printer refresh;
    • telecommunications refresh; and
    • networking hardware refresh.

    Tenderers should be aware of the Commonwealth policy to develop a centralised procurement system for the delivery of certain goods and services, which may impact on this RFT or a contract entered into as a result of this RFT.
    Conditions for Participation    

    The tenderer and any subcontractors proposed in the tender must not be named as not complying with the Equal Employment Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Act 1999 (Cth)
    Timeframe for Delivery    

    The majority of the desktop and notebook refresh is planned to take place over the first half of 2009.

    Contact Officer: Wilson Ong
    Phone Number: 02-99112775
    Email Address:




  • DES brings Raster Printers to the locals

    DES remains local distributor of Raster Printers after the company’s acquisition by EFI.

    EFI paid $3 million to purchase the remainder of Raster Printers this month. Raster Printers, founded in 2004, offers a line of UV wide format printers, currently marketed under the brand name Daytona, targeted to mid-range customers in the display graphics market.

    Following the close of the transaction, the products will be marketed under the EFI Rastek brand name. Raster currently operates with a staff of approximately 20 employees out of its headquarters in San Jose, California.

    "The acquisition of Raster will allow us to expand our product line and offer a variety of price-point products, significantly increasing our addressable market," said Fred Rosenzweig, president of EFI.

    "It will also allow us to further leverage our sales force and distribution channels, while solidifying our position as the leading provider of wide-format UV inkjet technology."

    DES is the distributor of the Raster Printers’ Daytona range in Australia and New Zealand.

    Ian Clare, managing director of DES, said that EFI’s takeover would have only positive effects on the local markets.

    "We are very excited about this acquisition," he said. "Both EFI and Raster Printers possess unique strengths and we are confident that this synergy will enable DES to deliver increased customer value."

    Clare added that customers can have confidence that there will be strong support for the Raster printers on a national basis.

    The acquisition will be finalised in the fourth quarter of 2008.

  • New NIPPA president fights back against outsourcing

    Newly elected president, Karen Birch, has big plans for NIPPA. Mitchell Jordan finds out what the future holds for the organisation under its new leader.

    The Auckland-based Birch, who currently works at Unitec, was appointed president at NIPPA’s recent annual conference and awards in Rotorua after 20 years of experience in printing and graphic arts across both New Zealand and Australia.

    Completing degrees in graphic design and civil and structural engineering, Birch was first introduced to NIPPA in 2004 and in 2006 was nominated onto the management committee, working her way up to the role of secretary.

    After two years, Birch (pictured) felt that she had served her "apprenticeship" and decided to run for president. "It was a decision I thought about long and hard for six months," she said.

    "As secretary, I was also shadowing other members of the CoM. I felt that I had a lot to give and wanted to act quickly."

    No one challenged Birch’s run for president, but it was still a surprise when she learnt that the role was hers.

    "I found out before the conference but I was so busy and focussed organising [the conference] that it didn’t really sink in until the Annual General Meeting," Birch said.

    "It was overwhelming, but a great honour."

    Being female and a president is a rarity – especially in the printing industry, but this did not deter Birch; in fact, it had the opposite effect.

    "The printing industry is very male-dominated and as a female I wanted to show that I can make a difference and that gender is irrelevant," she said.

    The role of president can be held for a maximum of four years, and Birch intends on staying for the duration. "I will need two years to start making a difference."

    Birch is a firm believer that NIPPA’s future lays in its branches and in growing membership.

    "I want to grow the membership and provide the right sort of conferences and personal development opportunities for members," she said.

    Birch notes that thanks to the UK-based UPMG, there is room for NIPPA to grow and expand its presence outside of Australasia.

    At a time when many in-house print operations look to outsourcing as an easy solution, Birch suggests otherwise and has the following advice:

    "I don’t believe outsourcing is a good option and NIPPA has the resources and  members willing to help and to demonstrate there are better alternatives," she said. "It’s like a big family full of information."

  • Credit crunch slams local industry trends

    The ongoing turmoil in the financial markets is impacting heavily on the local printing and associated industries.

    The September 2008 quarter Printing Industry Trends Report shows the credit crunch has severely impacted on the industry with respondents reporting the worst outcome for finance availability since the June 1989 quarter.  This has led to a reported net balance decrease in investment in plant and machinery during the past six months.

    At a time when cost pressure are steadily increasing selling prices have fallen again. The September quarter shows reported material cost pressures were not only significantly more intense than for the same period 12 months earlier, but they have now reached their highest level since December quarter 2000.

    According to Hagop Tchamkertenian, manager for policy and government affairs, Printing Industries, the difficult trading conditions experienced by the printing and associated industries are expected to continue for the remainder of the year and quite possibly for the first half of calendar year 2009. Actual outcomes for a range of key economic indicators such as orders, production, sales, selling prices, net profits, employment and overtime levels were below expected outcomes.

    Important September 2008 quarter developments reported by the survey respondents included:
    * Reduced orders and production;
    * Reduced sales and net profits;
    * Reduced employment and overtime levels;
    * Modest net balance reductions in investment in plant and machinery during the past six months;
    * Finance reported harder to obtain for the 3rd consecutive quarter;
    * Labour availability was reported to have deteriorated for the 17th  consecutive quarter;
    * Increases reported across all production cost categories;
    * Selling prices reported to have fallen for the 31st consecutive quarter;
    * Reduced levels of raw material stocks; and
    * Increased numbers of outstanding debtors.

    When it came to capacity utilisation rates, the September 2008 quarter results show that 61.7 per cent of respondents were operating at capacity levels of 70.0 per cent or over, up from the 56.4 per cent proportion reported last quarter but down from the 64.0 per cent proportion reported this time last year.

    86.0 per cent of survey respondents ranked lack of orders as the primary barrier to increasing production levels, an outcome that is marginally lower than the 86.4 per cent proportion reported during the June 2008 quarter but higher than the 79.8 per cent proportion reported during September 2007 quarter.

    Hagop said that over the outlook period industry respondents are forecasting modest net balance improvements to take place in a number of key economic indicators. Based on these forecasts the December 2008 quarter is expected to yield the following results:
    * Net balance increases in orders, production, sales and net profits;
    * Further falls in selling prices;
    * Reduced availability of finance and labour;
    * Reduced employment and overtime levels;
    * Further increases in all production cost categories – average wages, other labour costs, and average material costs;
    * Reduced stock levels; and
    * Increased number of outstanding debtors.

    Over the next six months (December 2008 and March 2009 quarters) the survey respondents expect:
    * Reduced investment activity in plant and machinery; and
    * Reduced investment activity in buildings.

    The outlook for general business expectations over the next six months remains mixed with respondents from only three states: Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania expecting improvements.
    The most optimistic state is Tasmania with a net balance of 14.3 per cent followed by Victoria with a net balance of 10.7 per cent.

    Respondents from Queensland reported the highest utilisation rates with 86.7 per cent of respondents operating at capacity utilisation levels of 70 per cent or more, followed by respondents from South Australia (76.9 per cent), Tasmania (57.2 per cent) Victoria (57.1 per cent), New South Wales (53.1 per cent), and Western Australia (50.0 per cent).

    The September 2008 quarter report shows capacity utilisation/activity rates were reported as being higher in the Books, Magazines, Periodicals and Newspapers, Quick Printing and General Promotional and Commercial sectors.

    Considerable levels of excess capacity seem to exist in the Other Packaging and Paper Converting, Screen Printing, Trade Binding, Labels and Graphic Reproduction sectors.

    Most product sectors are expecting either no change or for improvements to take place in general business conditions during December 2008 and March 2009 quarters, while four sectors comprising of Screen Printing, General Promotional and Commercial, Folding Cartons and Books, Magazines, Periodicals and Newspapers are forecasting deterioration.

    The product sectors are either forecasting reduced investment or no change in plant and machinery over the next six months, while the Labels sector is the sole sector forecasting increased investments.

    "Given the deteriorating consumer and business sentiment, the industry will be battling to fulfil some of the forecasts for the outlook period," he said.

    Hagop believes that despite the persistence of inflationary pressures the next monetary policy move by the Reserve Bank is likely to be a downward one.

    "Hopefully further reductions in official and non-official interest rates combined with the Federal Government’s recently announced fiscal stimulus package will start to have a positive impact on consumer sentiment," he finished. 

    Any one interested in obtaining a copy of the full survey report can contact Printing Industries. Hard copies of the report cost $20 for Printing Industries members and $40 for non-members. Electronic copies of the report are also available on request and cost $20 for members and $40 for non-members. Annual subscription to Printing Industry Trends Report is $60 for members and $120 for non-members.


  • PMA Solutions moves with the times

    PMA Solutions saw only one answer for its ever-expanding business, and that was to relocate its premises.

    Currently spread throughout three different locations in Sydney’s western suburbs, the company has just commenced work on a new 25,000 metre-square warehouse based in Erskine Park, expected to be complete in late 2009.

    "As the business has grown we saw a need to consolidate all three locations into one," explained Phil Shanahan, national manager of strategic sourcing.

    The new super sight is 50 per cent larger than PMA Solution’s current headquarters in Baulkham Hills and will accommodate its 100 staff, with room for more employees to come on board.

    An image of the new site in Erskine Park.

    "It is something we have been thinking about doing for some time," said Shanahan. "It gives us the chance to bring our team together while also being large enough to accommodate future growth."

    The independent supply chain manager for print, promotional material and personal safety products recently celebrated its 20th birthday by taking its staff and suppliers on a four-day sojourn to sunny Fiji.

    "It was very satisfying to have the support of over 30 key suppliers and business partners for our Fiji celebrations which highlights the critical importance of our suppliers to the success of PMA, and vice-versa," said Phil Okill, managing director and company founder (pictured).

    During the Fiji celebrations, Okill also talked of PMA’s plans for national and offshore expansion through its agency program and a new website careers centre to attract successful agents to represent PMA’s service offering.

    Reflecting on PMA’s two-ear anniversary, Okill paid homage to his team of staff.

    "Great people make a great business and the commitment and passion of our PMA team has helped me build what we have today," he said.

  • Print Franchise Business for Sale

    Could you live on $1/2 million per year?

    We have a Sydney based print franchise for sale that has a history of solid sales and profitability. For the 2008 financial year, this business achieved a net profit of $445,000 ‘under management’ (around $500k return to an owner operator).

    5 Days only – have a business and a life.

    The business has experienced staff and is located in an area that provides a rich source of clients and potential clients. As a result, there is significant potential to grow sales and profit even further.

    This quality business is being offered for sale at $1.25 million.

    Contact David at Cornerstone Business Brokers on 0425 329 765

  • Worldwide makes top 10 franchise list

    Worldwide Online named number 10 in study of Australia’s best franchises.

    The survey, conducted by market research company 10 Thousand Feet for website, involved over 900 franchisees from Australia’s major franchises.

    Participants were asked a series of questions, and the results were broken down into seven key areas, including intention to renew their franchising agreement, level of support from the franchisor, and financial and social rewards.  

    "Franchisee satisfaction is hugely important to us and franchisee support is the cornerstone of what we do – without them Worldwide wouldn’t be Australia’s fastest-growing franchise for four years running," said Mark Manderson, Worldwide CEO (pictured).

    "We invest a lot of time and money in developing sound support systems for our franchisees, and having our own people rank Worldwide so highly demonstrates the strength of our network."

    Andrew Robertson, owner of two Worldwide centres in Queensland and FCA Franchisee of the Year 2007 said: "Since being named Franchisee of the Year, I’ve had a lot of exposure to the wider franchising sector, and this result comes as no surprise.

    "This survey reflects the sentiment of the Worldwide network, and certainly my own."

  • Hear no evil, says Sensear

    Printers cop an earful when it comes to noise in the workplace. But Sensear have begun consultations with a number of printing companies to implement its hearing products into the workplace.

    As part of Safe Work Australia Week, the company demonstrated its new Sensear SP1 earplugs which block out background noise but allow for high quality speech communication with other workers and hearing protection.

    According to Darren Deitz, national sales manager for the company, News Limited, Fairfax and Hannan Print in Victoria has tested the SP1and discussions with PMP are also in the works.

    "The general areas of the printing industry are okay, but around folders and large presses it’s quite loud," he said.

    Deitz predicted a greater response from the printing industry when the SM1 earmuffs are released in January next year. "The SM1 earmuffs offer a greater opportunity to communicate around loud noise," he said.

    Pictured: Home and Away star, Jon Sivewright demonstrates the SP1 with Kayleigh Ford.

  • The winds of change: 29 October 2008

    The printing industry has more people coming and going than an airport. This week, Print 21 traces the latest changes at DIC and Epson.

    Team spirit keeps DIC strong
    2009 is just over two months away and by the time it rolls around, DIC will be equipped with a new management team.

    Current managing director, David Rands, will retire from his role to become chairman of DIC Australia and New Zealand. Taking over is Ian Johns (pictured), a man who has been with the company since 1989.

    Starting out as an apprentice litho printer in Adelaide during the early 70s, Johns has held a number of roles and for the last four years, has been the web and offset division directors at DIC.

    Now, it is John’s job to lead the company into its next phase of development. "Over recent years we have seen strong growth for DIC in the Australian and New Zealand markets, and our challenge is to continue building quality business operations that service our customers," he said.

    As part of the changes, Meredith Darke will move to the newly-created role of web business manager for DIC ANZ.

    Rands feels confident in taking a step back and handing over the reins.

    "The orderly succession of management within the company has been planned now for some time and I am delighted to see it coming to fruition," he said.

    Bacci grows large format
    Romano Bacci takes charge as Epson’s business unit manager, while his predecessor, Craig Heckenberg, steps up as business manager for business solutions.

    Bacci, (pictured) who joined Epson Australia six months ago, first joined Epson in 1998 where he was based in Singapore. Now he looks after the company’s large format printers.

    "It’s all going well," he said. "I have an Epson large format background already, so this is an extension to my job functions."

  • Politicians go looking for business: Print 21 magazine

    As New Zealand prepares for this year’s general election, business concerns have been aired in Wellington at a gathering sponsored by Business New Zealand. Joan Grace reflects on how the wider business community’s concerns echo those of the print industry.

    New Zealand is heading to the polls later this year and the uncertainty for business prompted by the looming election has been heightened by the delayed announcement of the election date by the Labour-led Government.

    However, even with the election now due to be held on 8 November, there is no guarantee a government will be appointed overnight. With New Zealand’s electoral system of mixed member proportional (MMP), in which Members of Parliament are elected from single-member constituencies and party lists, often no one single party emerges as the clear winner. Instead, negotiations to form a coalition government must be held, a process which can continue long after the ballot is counted.

    Despite this, having a date for the election is essential to encourage a greater feeling of security amid the business community. We have a very gloomy economic outlook tempered by some underlying positives such as the fall in the dollar for our exporters and continuing high commodity prices for primary products. However, concerns over the global economy abide.

    What business wants
    A recent election conference sponsored by Business New Zealand (the largest advocacy group for businesses in New Zealand) provided an opportunity for industry leaders to hear from all the major political parties and for candidates to answer the questions that are important for business. Business leaders were also given the chance to hear from the people who are not necessarily always on the news, but may play an important role in the design of the next Cabinet.

    For me, the meeting gave rise to an obvious but often overlooked observation: Governments need businesses but politicians need voters. Much of what is vital for those involved in industry may be considered less important by families or retirees, for example.

    During the conference, Business NZ introduced a survey which identified the important concerns for business ahead of this year’s election. The big issue across the board continues to be skills amid nationwide low unemployment, with 94 percent of responders to the survey calling for the further development of apprenticeships and industry training, and 72 percent concerned the education system is not meeting the skill needs of business. This result within the economic context mentioned above was surprising although with unemployment still under 5 percent, employers have limited choice when seeking candidates for vacant positions.

    Skill levels – or their lack – was also identified as the number one issue by business in the 2005 election. It appears that the top tier emphasis on investing in skills is not trickling down the list. This is something we pay a great deal of attention to at PrintNZ, and we hope that the introduction of new workplace training programmes will help address some of our members’ concerns.

    More help with R&D
    The second issue for business is innovation, with half of responders calling for new policies to improve access to venture capital and close to 90 percent questioning whether the Government’s new Research and Development tax credits will lift the spend on R&D. Businesses are well aware of the need to change and become more innovative, but most are not well-equipped to do so.

    The mechanisms made available through the R&D credits or access to funding through New Zealand Trade and Enterprise do not seem to satisfy the needs of many small businesses. This provides a challenge for PrintNZ to stimulate discussion throughout our industry on the best way to support innovation and to work with the industry to build management capability that will allow business owners to continue to make the changes necessary in our fast-changing industry.

    The third big issue identified by the survey is the environment for business to operate in. More than 70 percent of responders believe the dismissals provision contained in the Employment Relations Act (ERA) is ‘below average’ and 54 percent state the ERA’s collective approach is the ‘wrong way’. Some 89 percent do not want laws to monitor work-life balance and another 65 percent want the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) opened up to competition.

    The Business NZ survey has highlighted ongoing, repeating issues. In this context, the questionnaire has looked at infrastructure, the Resource Management Act and general compliance costs. It appears businesses are finding continued political interference difficult.

    Talkin’ about the government
    PrintNZ, as the industry association, has a role to represent the views of our members to whoever is in government, but the decisions about who will be in that government are the responsibility of every voter.

    We will be most effective in our lobbying role if you firstly keep us informed on where you stand on the policy issues that affect your business. Secondly, you need to tell us when government processes interfere with the way you want to run your business. Be specific – it is the real hands-on examples that really help. The recent example of the letter sent to the Prime Minister about government printing being sourced offshore illustrates this point well. Thirdly, we need your support when we need answers to specific questions.

    And finally, the election is a time for our industry to shine – remember to point out at every opportunity the effectiveness of print as the best way for politicians to get their messages across.

  • PMP Digital develops photographic space

    Melbourne’s marketing creatives flock to PMP’s Dimension Studios for photographic exhibition, Inspiring Life.

    The retro-inspired photographs of both Melbourne and Tokyo were an 18-month collaborative effort between photographer John Lane and art director/model David Morton.

    In Melbourne, Lane and Morton had lots of early mornings around the city and at locations like St Kilda Pier, which according to Lane "was a little bit scary at 4 and 5 in the morning with $10,000 worth of camera equipment and just the two of us."    

    The images are designed to be used in marketing campaigns. Keith Couzinwood of Kinc Marketing said that the cinematic feel of the images makes them appealing to a wide audience.

    "It looks like a short film and we are encouraging people to tailor their creative in that way," he said.

    "You’ve only got a split second to grab people’s attention and that’s what Dimension is trying to do."

    Pictured (L-R): John Lane, photographer; David Morton, art director/model and Graham Plant, general manager of PMP Digital.

    Inspiring Life is currently screening at Foyer, freshwater Place, 2 Southbank Boulevard, Southbank, Victoria.

  • Letters, feedback, get it off your chest: 22 October 2008

    Readers have their say over recent news.

    Re: Battle of the eco brands: Print 21 magazine article

    I read your article with keen interest, that although being an advocate for FSC and PEFC these along with ISO aren’t the only things to be considered.

    You rightly stated that these are just two areas, Fiber sourcing and an environmental starting point on manufacturing. These however do not encompass the full picture and are only based within their own merits no matter how good (or bad they are) and the industry does need a solid basis which these perform to a certain level.

    A current project of mine is developing a rating system that captures cradle to grave of a printed piece. Although not to be used to certify a printer will give the "FULL Picture" to the print buyer without getting overwhelmed in what I call the current "environmental acronym hype"

    I still see a trend both here and talking to my colleagues overseas that although the industry is doing a relatively good PR job it isn’t guaranteeing sales, print buyers are simply requesting FSC material but at the same time cutting back on print. A typical example of this is Telstra who specify FSC sent out a letter to their customers stating something along the lines of … Create less paperwork by cutting down less trees …

    As an industry we need to get the message across that we are a viable sustainable industry and we’re here to stay. Urban Fresh will start a series of seminars in February 2009 addressing these pressing issues for both the Print and Paper Seller and the Print Buyer.

    In conclusion in a perfect world, margins would be high and overheads low, everyone would love their job and got paid what they deserved AND we would do all things good for the environment because we wanted to.

    Kristina Holdorf
    Environmental Print Consultant

    Re: Pack up your troubles at NSW Print Excellence awards

    Congratulations on a great job covering the events of our big industry night.

    Peachy attended and we had a very enjoyable night as one of the small guys amongst the big guns of NSW printers.

    I’m a little confused with the Armstrong entries and awards as they are an agency aren’t they not a printer?

    Also I must admit I was a little disappointed not to read in your article a mention of Peachy’s success in the small business category: Gold / Silver and joint Silver plus Bronze, especially as the host mentioned that the small business made up 80% of business in Australia.

    Yes it’s true to say you can’t please everyone all the time but please don’t take this a whinge more of an observation.

    Gary Gorman
    Sales director
    Peachy Print

    Re: FedEx Kinko’s closes Australian stores

    F***ing hooray. Kinko’s was really cheapening and dissolving the standards in the print industry. Goodbye.

    Justin May